News


2010-07-06
A Quick and Easy Flexibility Program For Runners


 

A Quick and Easy Flexibility Program For Runners

By Tshepo Khoza 

 

 

Top athletes in the world that wins races and keep improving their time these days have proven athletic ability, great flexibility great core and strength. It is essential for an effective running fitness program to contain both strength and flexibility development. This program is quick and time efficient for runners to fit into their hectic schedules. I have provided three programs to be performed after practice, strength training, agility work or a match to speed your recovery.

This running flexibility plan has 3 stretch sequences for you. The one you perform depends on the kind of exercise you been doing. And also the daily routine. Usually it will be a lower body stretch or total body stretch.

Total Body Stretch takes 5 to 10 minutes

Although it takes a little longer than the other two, it is important to perform it. It will leave you feeling refreshed. Keep you breathing slow and controlled throughout.

  1. Chest Stretch              Hold 1 sec

2.  Upper Back Stretch    15 sec hold

3.  Triceps Stretch            15 sec hold

4.   Calf Stretch                 20 sec hold

5.   Inner Thigh Stretch     30 sec hold

6.   Spine Rotation           15 sec hold

7.  Outer Thigh Stretch     15 sec hold

8.   Glute Stretch               15 sec per side

9.   Hamstring Stretch       20 sec hold

10. Quadriceps Stretch     20 sec hold

 

 

 

     

Lower Body Stretch takes 5 minutes

When you have time after an intense lower body toning session or cardio, this sequence will give you the ultimate lower body stretch.

            1.  Calf Stretch                        Hold for 20 sec

2.  Hamstring Stretch              Hold for 20 sec

3.  Quadriceps Stretch            Hold for 20 sec

4.  Chest Stretch                      Hold for 15 sec

5.  Upper Back Stretch           Hold for 15 sec          

Short Standing Stretch

Ideal for cooling down after a cardio or when you are pressed for time, the short standing stretch features a few quick exercises for all the major muscle groups.

1.      Calf Stretch                       Hold for 20 sec

2.  Hamstring Stretch             Hold for 20 sec

3. Quadriceps Stretch            Hold for 20 sec

4.  Chest Stretch                     Hold for 15 sec

 

 

 

The Flexibility Moves

By stretching the muscles in your arms, chest, back, and legs, you are eliminating tension, building your flexibility, and reducing your soreness. These moves are in order you perform at the end of each workout, you can also perform each stretch on its own at other times. This is useful if you find one area of your body is feeling stiff and sore.

  1. Chest Stretch
    Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your leg slightly bent. Pull your tummy muscles in and keep your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed. Clasp your hands behind your back. Keeping your back straight, lift your arms behind you until you can feel a stretch across your chest. Hold for 15 seconds, then return to start.

 

  1. Upper Back Stretch
    Stand with your feet hip width apart and your legs slightly bent. Straighten your arms out in front of you and clasp your fingers together. Keeping your lower back firm and your body upright, gently push your hands away from you. Feel the stretch across your upper back and the back of your shoulders. Hold for about 15 seconds and then slowly lower your arms to the start position.

 

  1. Triceps Stretch
    Stand with your feet hip width apart and your legs slightly bend. Raise one arm and place the hand over your back (as if trying to scratch your upper back). Now increase the stretch by gently pushing the elbow back with your other hand. Hold the position, feeling the stretch down the back of your arm for 10 seconds. Slowly return to the start position and repeat with the other arm.

 

  1. Spine Rotation
    Lie on your back, with arms stretched out at shoulder level. Bend both legs to 90 degrees, then drop your knees to one side so one is touching the floor, but don�t force the stretch. Hold for 15 seconds, then return to the start before repeating on the other side.

 

  1. Glute Stretch
    Lie on your back on the floor. Bend the knee of one leg, but keep your foot on the floor. Cross your other leg so your ankle is resting just above the knee. Clasp the thigh of your first leg firmly by both hands, then gently pull it toward you. Feel the stretch in your bottom and your outer thigh. Hold the position for about 15 seconds or a little longer if you can, then slowly return your legs to the start position. Repeat the stretch using your other leg.

 

  1. Lying Down Hamstring Stretch
    Lie on your back on the floor with one leg bent at the knee and your foot flat on the floor. Hold your other leg with one hand behind the thigh and one hand behind your calf. Keeping this leg as straight as you can, gently pull it toward you until you feel the stretch down the back of your thigh. Hold the position for 30 seconds, allowing the muscles to relax into the stretch as you do so. Slowly return to the start position. Repeat with your other leg.

 

  1. Standing Hamstring Stretch
    Place one heel in front of you and put your hands on your thigh. Bend your other knee and slowly bend forward from the hips. Feel the stretch in the back of your thigh, calf, and the back of your knee. Hold for 10 seconds, then slowly lean in a little farther to intensify the stretch. Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

 

  1. Quadriceps Stretch
    Stand up straight, keeping your supporting leg slightly bent. Bend your other leg and holding the front of your foot, pull it up toward your bottom. Keep your knees together, hips pointing forward, and back straight. Feel the stretch in the front of your thigh and your hip. Hold for 20 seconds, and then repeat with the other leg.

 

  1. Lying Down Quadriceps stretch
    Lie face down with your head on one hand. Keeping your hips on the floor, bring one leg behind you and hold the front of the foot. Keep your head down and neck relaxed. Hold for 20 seconds, and then repeat with the other leg.

 

  1. Outer Thigh Stretch
    Sit with one leg in front of you and the other crossed over it. With one arm for support, use the other to ease your knee across your body. Feel the stretch in your outer thigh. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with your other leg.

 

  1. Inner Thigh Stretch
    Sit with your back straight. Place the soles of your feet together, then, holding your ankles, pull your feet in toward you. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, feeling it in your inner thighs as you relax your legs down towards the floor. You can intensify this stretch by placing your elbows on your knees and, keeping your back straight, gently easing your body forward from the hips.

 

  1. Calf Stretch
    Stand with your feet together, then step back with one foot, pushing into the heel and bending your other leg slightly. Keep your back straight, feet facing forward, and heels on the floor. Imagine a straight line running from your back heel to your head. Hold for 20 seconds, feeling the stretch in your calf. You can increase the stretch by moving your rear foot slightly back, pushing into the heel, and holding for a few seconds.

Follow this program and notice how much better you look, feel, and perform in you next race